With the exclusive showing of Metro Manila Film Festival entries wrapping up Wednesday, the big screen is all set to roll Hollywood bigwigs in their opening salvos for 2016.
Fit, fabulous, fifty-something leading men George Clooney and Brad Pitt will heat up cinemas this month in their respective films, Our Brand Is Crisis and The Big Short. Clooney works behind the scenes as his movie’s producer, however, but has canned two movies for release in February (Hail Caesar!) and April (Money Monster).
Before Clooney appears on the big screen in his upcoming films, his presence will first be felt as the producer of Our Brand is Crisis starring Sandra Bullock. The gripping political satire opens across the Philippines on January 13, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company
Clooney’s film takes a timely and satirical look at the high-stakes gamesmanship behind the scenes of a presidential campaign, seen through the eyes and actions of the strategists-for-hire who are pulling the strings. Bringing audiences into the belly of the beast with a fictional story as relevant as today’s news cycle, it explores the often outrageous and unconscionable lengths to which some people will go in their competitive zeal to get the job done and cross the finish line ahead of the other guy.
“We weren’t really looking into it as being a political statement,” assures Clooney. “We were very interested in the election process and how you elect officials, but I think, we weren’t looking at this as strictly about politics. We were looking at this about the human condition, and how we are packaging and selling everything in a very specific way. We thought that was an interesting thing to discuss.”
That said the film is coming out at an interesting time in American politics. “Obviously the timing now, you know, who would’ve thought that Donald Trump would be at 30 percent,” Clooney exclaims. “It ends up working out very well for the film.”
In Our Brand is Crisis, a Bolivian presidential candidate failing badly in the polls enlists the firepower of an elite American management team, led by the deeply damaged but still brilliant strategist “Calamity” Jane Bodine (Bullock).
Our Brand is Crisis reveals the cynical machinations and private battles of world-class political consultants for whom nothing is sacred and winning is all that matters.
Meanwhile, Pitt plays the financial Zen warrior to investment upstarts Finn Wittrock (American Horror Story) and John Magaro (Orange is the New Black), in Paramount Pictures’ acclaimed sardonic comedy The Big Short.
Based on the true story and best-selling book by Michael Lewis (The Blind Side, Moneyball), The Big Short also stars Hollywood hotshots Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling. It opens across the Philippines on January 20, and is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.
In the film, when four outsiders saw what the big banks, media and government refused to—the global collapse of the economy—they had an idea: The Big Short. Their bold investment leads them into the dark underbelly of modern banking where they must question everyone and everything.
An important aspect of The Big Short’s story involves fresh-faced money managers known in the film as Jamie Shipley and Charlie Geller, portrayed by Wittrock and Magaro.
Prior to filming, Pitt immersed himself in Ben Rickert’s anti-establishment belief system. “The real guy believes climate change and corrupted economies are destroying natural resources,” director and screenwriter Adam McKay notes.
“He really does think the world’s going to end in the next 50 or 100 years. Brad ran with that. He has some great improvised scenes where he’s saying ‘Don’t use the Monsanto seeds; you have to have the pure seeds.’ Or you see him in the airport and he’s got a surgical mask on. Brad wanted to dig into that mindset because Ben’s not just some crazy doomsday prepper. He’s a brilliant guy and everything he does is backed up by data, even though the combination of it all seems pretty crazy. That was one of the really fun things for Brad in playing this character.”